Monday, May 31, 2010

Seven Deadly Snakes (well, really only six deadly ones)

Since moving into our house 3 and a half months ago, we have had seven snakes in our yard.  Six of them lost their lives for sure while one may be alive and well or may be enduring a slow death.  We're not sure.  Six of the seven have also been poisonous.  And not just kind of poisonous.  We've had a 5 foot long black spitting cobra and 3 black mambas (one of which was over 4 feet).  Two were unnamed poisonous snakes and the other one harmless. Last Friday two black mambas were playing in the back yard and were spotted by Kulwa, who is building a storage shed for us out back.  Kulwa killed one of them but the other got away.  He saw it go through a hole in the bottom of our fence, which is concrete.  So he got some cement and sealed the hole.  So that snake is now either enjoying his life in our neighbors yard or is trapped inside our fence.  If he got out I have great sympathy for our neighbors.  If he did not, I feel little sympathy for him.  I'm not an animal hater or anything, I just don't like snakes that can kill you in minutes hanging out where our daughter will one day play.  We've been told that after we've been here a while the snakes will probably all either be killed or make their way out of our yard, disturbed by the presence of people, and we won't often have them around anymore.  I'm holding out for this happening sooner than later.

On an only slightly related subject; last week at Bible study we were looking at the temptation of Eve and someone made the comment that if Adam and Eve had been Chinese, the world never would have fallen.  Confused, we asked why.  She answered, "Because if they had been Chinese, they would have eaten the snake instead of the fruit."  Ha ha.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Few Pictures For the Baylor Starved

I realized that I haven't put any pictures up for a while, so I thought I'd throw in a few.  I figure Baylor's way cuter than Brett and me, so they're just of her.  Don't worry, she doesn't eat those zoo biscuits, she just plays with them while Brett munches.  

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 2

Yesterday we had about 20 people over to the house for worship and fellowship.  A family from Mwanza was visiting and we invited a South African family who works in the Gold Mine that Brett randomly met in town one day.  It was nice to spend time with both our teammates and new friends.

As we began to fix breakfast around 8am and get ready for everyone to come over, the electricity went out.  Not such big deal as it happens often.  But I was fixing lunch and snacks for a whole lot of people, so it did put a small glitch in the day.  Then around 2:30, we ran out of water.  That makes the day a lot harder.  We get water about one day a week from the city.  We have two 2,000L tanks that hold the water so that we have enough to last until the next week.  Unfortunately, the city didn't run the water this week, so we ran out on the day when 20 people are at our house and with no way to flush toilets.  Alas.  Fortunately all these people also live in Africa, so no one really cared.

Usually when the electricity is out all day it is scheduled rationing and it comes back on at dusk and doesn't go out again for a few days.  Last night it came on at dusk as we expected, but as we did not expect, it went back out an hour later.  It's still out 14 hours later--day 2 of no electricity. So we've decided this is no longer a scheduled outage which means there is a problem with something, somewhere, and there is no telling when it will come back on.  We're fortunate to have a generator, which we ran a few hours yesterday and again this morning to keep our fridge and freezer cold.  If you read my post a few weeks ago, you know I have a large amount of meat in my freezer that I don't want to lose.

This morning Brett went to order a truck of water.  This is how regular an occurrence it is that people don't have water: there are multiple businesses in town whose sole purpose it is is to deliver water to people's houses when they run out.  I'm not really sure, but I assume these people have a very deep well to ensure their endless supply of water.  The first place Brett went to couldn't deliver it because their truck is in the shop.  The second place doesn't have their own water pump and we're going to have to borrow one.  The third place was the winner today--both a truck and a pump.  It costs 30,000 shillings (about $23) to have a truck delivered.  Not too bad.  We're willing to pay to be able to take showers, wash clothes and dishes, have drinking water and flush toilets.  The truck hasn't gotten here yet, but we have high hopes it will soon.  Until then, we drink coke.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Scary Hosts

Saturday we had our landlord's family over for dinner.  This is considered a big deal for us because they are higher than we are on the social food chain.  It's difficult to decide what to cook when you have Tanzanians over because more than likely they are not going to like whatever it is because it's so unfamiliar.  Tanzanians as a whole do not enjoy a wide variety of foods.  They have their same basic few and all eat them every day.  There's just not a lot of branching out.  I finally settled on roast, potatoes, carrots, rice, and this cucumber/tomato/onion salad thing they eat here.  I figured they would at least know what all the foods were, even if cooked differently.

Anyway, they were supposed to arrive at 4:00 in the afternoon but when 4:00 came and went we didn't think anything of it because being late is normal.  And since they rank higher than us, they get even more time to show up late and it not be considered rude.  They finally showed up about 5:45. Well, some of them did.  Our landlords's wife and 2 of their kids and 3 of their nieces came then.   We offered them sodas, oranges, and banana bread and made small talk.  Unfortunately, one of the little girls was not impressed with our hospitality.  She wouldn't look at us from the moment she walked in.  I would guess she was about 8 years old and soon we heard sniffles coming from her direction.   We tried to be extra nice to her, but that seemed to produce the opposite effect than we intended.  She was soon sobbing into her banana bread.  Our landlord's wife informed us we were scaring her.  Apparently she had never been in a white person's house before or really even known any white people.  Maybe she thought we were ghosts there to haunt her?  Anyway, they eventually took her home.  Though on her way out we frightening creatures made sure she took her soda and invited her back again sometime.

Our landlord finally got there a little before 7:00.  Apparently he had business.  We sat down to dinner and I waited to see if they would like the food.  I think at least one of them did.  They ate a lot of rice.  Still, I can't think of anything else they would've liked better.  They went home around 8:15.  All in all, a pretty successful evening, if a bit awkward at times.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I thought it might be interesting to some of you out there to know what a typical day looks like for me here in Geita--though there are probably more atypical days than typical ones.

7:30am -10:00am -- wake up, feed Baylor, feed myself, play with Baylor, put laundry in the washing
            machine, check email, etc.
10:00am-11:00am -- put Baylor down for nap,exercise and shower
11:00am - 11:45am -- Bible study and Swahili study
11:45am - 12:00pm -- feed Baylor
12:00pm - 1:30pm -- go to town with Baylor for relationship building, Swahili practice, and produce
1:30pm - 2:00pm -- go home and eat lunch
2:00pm - 3:30pm -- put Baylor down for a nap, work in the kitchen or study Swahili
3:30pm - 5:30pm -- feed,bathe, and play with Baylor
5:30pm - 7:30pm -- cook, eat, and clean up dinner
7:30pm - 8:30pm -- feed and play with Baylor, read her a book, have a family devotional, put Baylor to
8:30pm - 10:00pm -- read, watch t.v, or play games
10:00pm -- feed Baylor
10:30pm -- go to bed

Of course there's hardly any day that actually ends up like this.  I don't always exercise or study Swahili, and Baylor certainly does not always stay on her nap schedule like I dream for her to do.  Also, there are days when we have Bible studies, have people to our home or go to others' homes.  And I've left out all the little things I do every day like change poopy diapers, greet people who come to our gate, and fill the water filter.  One day a week I spend almost the whole day in the kitchen, preparing breads, sauces, condensed cream of chicken soup, granola, etc. to make cooking easier all the other days.  And of course everything gets thrown off when there's no electricity or water-- though we've gotten pretty used to that.  The longer we're here, the more time I'll spend in work outside the home, which will get a little easier (hopefully) when Baylor gets a little older.  My days are always filled with something, just sometimes with more exciting things than others.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Irony of Mother's Day

Sitting here enjoying my first mother's day as an actual mother, I laugh to myself-- because what I wanted most for mother's day was to have Brett take care of Baylor while I type blog posts and sleep.  I just find that slightly humorous.

Despite that, I do love my daughter immensely, which is why the rest of my post will be cute pictures of her.

Baylor is now over 5 months old.  She's about to start crawling, which I'm not too thrilled about, but I suppose it's inevitable.

We are thrilled that our teammates Carson and Holly have returned to Geita after being in the States 3 and a half months to have their baby boy, Jude Edward.  We went to Mwanza last weekend to pick them up from the airport and meet Jude for the first time.  Baylor really seems to like him (or at least wants to eat him and poke his eyes), but I'm not so sure what Jude thinks about her.

I thought since Baylor's favorite hobby is putting things in her mouth, she would really enjoy her first experience with solid food. However, rice cereal seems to come pretty low on her list of things she wants to eat.  

Discovery Bible Study #1

About a month ago we started our first Bible study here in town.  Every Thursday afternoon Brett, Baylor, and I head over to John Paul and Rose's house, about a 10 minute drive on the other side of Geita.  John Paul and his wife are devout Catholics, who wanted to learn more about the Bible and share the gospel with their friends and neighbors, but weren't sure exactly how to do it.  So in we came.  We meet with about 13 adults and a few teenagers for 2 and a half hours studying the Bible.  We started with Genesis.  It's an interesting mix of people.  There are some who have been to church before, other who are muslims, and others who say they're Christians but seem to know nothing about the Bible and what it says.  Brett has been meeting alternately with John Paul and another man called Edward, to mentor them and help them lead the study.  We want to take as small a role as possible, so that from the very beginning they can have ownership and leadership in what will one day hopefully be a church of believers.  I end up spending about half the time outside with Baylor and the other young kids,  as Baylor has not yet mastered the art of the inside voice.  I've thought about leaving Baylor with someone while I go to the study, but I don't want women to think in order  to study the Bible they can't have their children with them.  So I bring Baylor and   participate as much as she'll allow.

We have two more studies scheduled to begin this month and we're really excited  about those as well.  Maybe they'll be at a time of day when Baylor's not quite as        grumpy.